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Hundreds of students, staff march for divestment


Thursday 01 June 2017

Hundreds of students, staff march for divestment following occupation



Yesterday over two hundred students and staff at the University of Auckland marched to the university's clocktower building to once again demand that Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon actively support divesting the University Foundations from oil, coal and gas companies.

It came just two days after fourteen students occupied the Vice-Chancellor's wing of the clocktower for over twelve hours demanding he support divestment, before being forcibly removed by police.

"This turnout from all over the University community shows just how out of touch the Vice-Chancellor is with the will of students and staff when it comes to divesting our University from fossil fuels," said Fossil Free University of Auckland spokesperson Alex Johnston.

"We demand a University that puts its money where its mouth is, and for a Vice Chancellor who will stand on the right side of history, by supporting our call for the Foundations to stop funding climate change."

For over two years, a campaign led by Fossil Free University of Auckland has been calling for the University Foundation to cease investing in oil, coal and gas extraction companies to take a stand against one of the main culprits in driving climate change, the fossil fuel industry.


According to information given to Fossil Free UoA, the University Foundations have approximately 1.5% of their total investment pool in companies with "fossil fuel interests". Fossil Free University of Auckland estimates this to be around $2 million, and set to increase to $6 million on current fundraising targets by the University.



To date, the Vice Chancellor has road-blocked progress on divestment by refusing to support the call for the University Foundations to stop financing fossil fuel companies.

Said Johnston: "divestment is a really simple step to take, but sends a powerful signal to the fossil fuel industry that their business model as it operates is not compatible with our futures."

"This movement will not go away, and we will make ourselves too hard to ignore because climate change isn't waiting for anyone."

At the march, Auckland University Students' Association President Will Matthews called for McCutcheon to take action: “The Vice Chancellor at Victoria University has listened to his students and come out in favour of divestment. It’s time for our Vice Chancellor to let us know who’s side he is on - his students, or the fossil fuel companies.”

ENDS


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